Palestinian Institution-Building: Failures and Prospects
Thursday, July 15, 1999
Report from a Palestine Center briefing with Khalil Shikaki
15 July 1999'On 15 July 1999, the Center hosted Khalil Shikaki, director of the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, for a briefing entitled 'Palestinian Democracy on the Way to Statehood.' Shikaki provided a synopsis of the recently published report, 'Strengthening Palestinian Public Institutions,' the first comprehensive analysis of public institutions under the Palestinian Authority (PA). Commissioned by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the report was researched and drafted by a team of 25 Palestinian experts led by Shikaki and England-based Palestinian scholar Yezid Sayigh. In addition, the CFR-commissioned team included an international task force chaired by Michel Rocard, former prime minister of France, and comprised of 13 other distinguished international figures.
In his introductory remarks, Shikaki cited the premise of this unprecedented international effort, namely that 'good government requires strong public institutions.' In applying this premise to the PA, the goal of the report, said Shikaki, was not to focus on corruption within the PA's nascent institutions'although such corruption is apparent in the report's findings'but rather to identify challenges to institution-building and to make recommendations for overcoming these challenges. Moreover, the authors necessarily factored in the unique geopolitical and economic circumstances within which the PA has developed.